Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

Javiera Mena – Otra Era



Josh Winters: As a kid, outer space is presented to you as this boundless technicolor playground, and as a kid, you absorb this new world with the kind of wide-eyed wonderment one only possesses when so innocent and impressionable. It can be difficult at times to preserve this perspective as you grow up, but you naturally come across new things, places, and especially people to project feelings of awe towards. Javiera Mena loves the thrill of a new crush, how one so intense can completely take hold of your thoughts and transport you to another planet. “Otra Era” is so sensual, so recklessly playful, but it also feels like it’s stuck in time, the way she sings with mesmeric steadiness over pounding piano and a driving disco beat. There’s a coziness in its cosmic landscapes that, like a colorful rug of the solar system, makes you want to get lost and explore for hours. Hell, nothing has made me want to blast off into space more than that explosively fizzy firecracker in the middle of the track.

Katherine St Asaph: “Hold On, We’re Going Home” plus a rainymood piano interlude, plus crescendos, minus Drake. Don’t you love an equation?

Juana Giaimo: It’s clear that the third single off Otra era is for Mena’s old fans. The straight mainstream pop of “Espada” and “La joya”, which asked us to join her on the dancefloor, was pushed aside to let in a new Javiera. It’s not the Javiera of Mena or of Esquemas juveniles, but one that we haven’t met before: a Javiera that dares to move further from her past by turning ethereal, sensual and mysterious, but still able to maintain her quietness and secrecy. However, the vulnerability may never be back, and to say the truth, I will not miss it that much.

Iain Mew: I walked through the pedestrian tunnel under the Thames for the first time last weekend and it was disappointingly un-magical, filled with people and just like walking between platforms in any tube station. On headphones “Otra Era” feels completely enclosed to a rare degree. Coupled with a sense of forward motion even stronger than the end of “La Joya,” it makes me think of an ideal futuristic version of the tunnel with not a join in sight and disco walkways accelerating towards a neon destination.

Alfred Soto: No performer owns electronic landscapes like Javiera Mena, and she’s a natural fit for this house-inflected number. The number itself though can’t decide whether to delight in its twinkly charm or race for the dance floor.

Micha Cavaseno: So Balearic the song has become an iceberg.

Madeleine Lee: This kind of synths-as-aural-bath, voice-as-synth texture production does sound like it’s from another time, albeit not one I can pin down aside from “recent past.” The recent past is possibly a minute ago in the song, but hey: it holds up!

Edward Okulicz: Had the Pet Shop Boys decided that the answer to the lack of success of “Domino Dancing” was to do it over and over again until everyone’s resistance broke down, the end results might have been something along the lines of “Otra Era.” Our loss, up until now, that is!

Patrick St. Michel: I don’t even know what angle to come at for “Otra Era.” The music itself is a sparse, squiggly strut, a sound Javiera Mena has built fantastic songs around over the last few years; it almost seems unfair how she’s able to embrace the same formula yet meld it into something compelling every time. The lyrics… well, that’s a little unfair, because I still have to rely on Google Translate to understand what’s going on beyond the title (though the results hint at a rejection of both past and future in favor of a timeless — like, time doesn’t exist — love that’s sweet). But the voice behind them sells the power of those words perfectly, making a language I don’t grasp sound natural. 

Will Adams: It doesn’t quite make sense until the final minute, when the space-age synth lets loose and Mena is thrown to the distortion filters. But oh, what a minute that is.

Jonathan Bogart: Swooning out-of-time romanticism about out-of-timeness; “you’re like something from another era” goes the refrain. I choked out loud when the house piano came in. It’s hard to shake the past’s idea of the future.

Reader average: [9.28] (21 votes)

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7 Responses to “Javiera Mena – Otra Era”

  1. Goddammit I love you people. I can’t wait til this group gets to review “La Carretera.”

  2. Maybe when it’s a single in 2016, eh?

  3. If Javiera is in Best of 2014, then Tamar should be there too…

  4. Yes. Thank you!

  5. Is Mena the best reviewed artist in the history of TSJ?

  6. i’m not sure but it’s likely! i think one of us keeps track of artists’ overall scores. her score (disregarding a julieta venegas song she was featured on alongside gepe) averages out to be [7.41]. not even “primera estrella” could sink her below a [7.00]!

  7. if you do wanna incorporate that julieta/javiera/gepe track, her score is [7.25].